Thursday, May 8, 2008


The students at the Autonóma are protesting against Bolonia, an important project of synchronization of the Spanish university system with the rest of Europe. Even though the motive for the protests is not very clear to me, I tried to understand their reasonings, but they ruined it for me by destroying the RENFE station tonight. The walls covered with graffiti but more importantly, out of the ten ticket machines there was only one working in the morning, the rest being fixed by the RENFE employees. Do the protesters understand that it won't help their case?

1 comment:

Sergio said...

I have no idea why they are protesting either. To begin with, it will take you 4 years intead of 5 to get a degree. Sounds like a drop in quality and quantity? Maybe, until you take into account something which I don't know if it exists in other parts of Europe -at least it doesn't in the Open University in England-, something called "asignaturas de libre configuracion"

They are like electives, only unrelated to your degree. You can take a libre configuracion course, of, for example, mathematics when doing English philology, or get those credits from playing chess or soccer. Basically, a way to get money out of you and extend the time you spend at university. Therefore, if those go away, we have a 4 year-degree with the same contents as now.

That to begin with.

Take the degree I'm doing, English philology. It's so outdated. It's like something out of the 19th century, out of Victorian England. As a matter of fact, philology means "the study of a culture through old texts". The way it is now in Spain, it's like a degree that idle rich people did in the past to become educated snobs in Latin and all that.

In all of Europe, this out-fashioned degree has been replaced with the so-called "European studies", or "Asian studies" and so on.

Basically, you don't do much literature, you study the languages. That means, for example, that I may be able to teach in a high school English, while someone from England doing European studies will be able to teach English, and two other languages, like German and Spanish.

And what are they gonna do? Change it. Now Filología Inglesa will not exist anymore. Instead, there will be an emphasis on languages, on teaching or translating, instead of on useless literature. It's more practical, and more useful, let's face it. You can't just eat air, you need a job. If it's related to what you like, then so much the better.

You will be able to do "European studies", or "East Asian Studies" or "Slavic studies" and so on, so on.

I see some bad stuff about Bolonia. Yes I do, but in fact they don't seem to be protesting agaisnt this. It's the fact that the emphasis will be on group work and expositions in front of the class. For an individualist like me, for someone for who self education is everything -I learn by myself from German, Japanese and Chinese to Japanese and Chinese history and even cooking or philosophy-, that's hell.

Then again, I don't know much about Bolonia. I have still 2 years to go, but all in all it won't affect me much, so it's none of my business. But I have a feeling it's more some kind of teenage angst and rebelliousness than anything else.

Because in the case of English philology, they were protesting against it disappearing, instead of being glad that future generations will be able to learn more languages, teach more languages or translate more languages, and that means more job opportunities, and in just 4 years

After all, if there's something I've learnt about university is that it won't make you know everything that there's to know about the thing you are studying, so it's better to finish it as soon as possible, to be able to get as many jobs as possible, and then, if you feel like it, you can acquire more knowledge in your spare time